The Motion Picture (DE) ****
- This is a really noble first effort. It displays a lot of thought and care and interest to deal with big ideas. It’s a beautiful film to look at. I think it feels more connected to TOS than any of the subsequent films. Where it falters is the lack of a little more energy and passion through character drama---there’s isn’t quite enough going on---and that keeps the film from being an A effort.
The Wrath Of Khan ***
- It has the energy and passion that TMP needed more of along with good performances and good character moments. There are nice visuals. But I flat out don’t like Nicholas Meyer’s simplistic and dumbed-down vision of Star Trek.
He tries to cover poor writing and huge logic flaws with action and pretty pictures.
The Search For Spock ***
- A continuation of and very similar to TWOK in overall execution. But now it’s wearing even more thin and some of the f/x are starting to look rushed and half-hearted.
The Voyage Home ***
- The familiar characters are starting to drift from what they once were. The humour is overdone. Like the previous two films it’s the cast that helps keep things afloat, but it’s not enough to overcome a lot of the silliness in this movie.
The Final Frontier **
- A good basic story, some good character moments and a solid score can’t overcome sloppy writing, lazy thinking and shoddy looking f/x.
The Undiscovered Country ***
- A good story idea, good pacing and energy can’t do enough to overcome character deconstruction, a lot of stupidity and the return of Nicholas Meyer’s vision. Despite trying it really isn’t that good a send-off for the TOS crew.
In the end TMP and TWOK are the two best films primarily because they resonate better with the original series. They're both flawed in some way or other and yet they're much like two sides of the same coin. Despite my rating of it TVH is my least favourite of the group---I just found it silly whereas I find TFF to be a noble failure. It certainly makes me think of what some of these films (like TFF) could have been like with another director.
One of the things I disliked about the films was the lack of continuity in sets. Each director brought a different idea to the Enterprise's interiors (notably the Bridge) that really bugged me. It certainly made it difficult to accept that this was really meant to be the same ship or even an almost exact copy.